<

NAD

It all begins early in 1988 with the handing over of a cassette tape to DJ Jazzy M, host of legendary Thursday night radio show “The Jacking Zone” on LWR. The tape contains a track entitled “Close Jack Encounter” by L.E. Bass (Lord of The Eastern Bass) and is aired for the first time on 18 February. Jazzy M describes the track as “unbelievable”, “severe, severe” and “a sample of young London”. A week later, L.E. Bass – that is, 20 year-old Mustafa Ali – receives a phone call from Tony Thorpe, owner of BPM Records, asking him if would like to contribute a track to a UK acid house album that he is compiling. The result is “Acid Bitch (Bitch Mix)” by L.E. Bass – “Britain’s answer to Jamie Principle” – which appears a few months later on Acid House Volume One (BPM Records, 1988). (The track receives a negative review in the music press on account of allegedly misogynistic lyrics that personify the drug Ecstasy as a seductive woman.)

A few months later, BPM releases “Play Her Way” backed by “Strive (Bloody Racket Mix)” and “Noise (Survive Mix)”, with Tony Thorpe (as The House Addicts) responsible for production and mix-down. Music production recedes into the background at this point as Ali concentrates on completing a degree in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. It is during his final year at university that he becomes more serious about his religion, Islam, and begins to develop a critical political consciousness, both of which constitute major influences on subsequent musical productions.

A year later and L.E. Bass has morphed into NAD whose first release “Distant Drums” appears on House Factor (BPM, 1989). The following year sees the release of the 8-track LP “N.A.D. (New Age Dance) Dawn of a New Age” (BPM, 1990) featuring “Distant Drums”, with all tracks written and produced by Ali. The album acknowledges Rhythm is Rhythm / Mayday (Derrick May) and Fingers Inc (Larry Heard and Robert Owens) as sources of inspiration; however, thematically-speaking, it draws heavily on science fiction film (The Day The Earth Stood Still, Demon Seed, 2001) and Islam (Five Pillars, Soul Search). “Distant Drums” is later re-released in 1996 as a single on Language Records, backed by the instrumental track “Sphere” which is cut directly from cassette. The same year, Ali releases what comes to be the classic techno-rave track “V.L.S.I. Heaven” as Epoch 90 on Oh’Zone Records, a label set up by Jazzy M who co-produces and mixes the track. (Epoch 90 is composed of Ali and college friend, Eugene Gbekor, who provides incidental vocals on the track.) This is followed up in 1991 with the dystopian epic “Last Night of The World”, also by Epoch 90 and again released on Oh’Zone Records with co-production and mix-down by Jazzy M. Unfortunately, the release of the track coincides – not entirely coincidentally – with Operation Desert Storm, and the track receives little to no radio play. Later the same year, Ali goes on to write lyrics and perform vocals for Zzone Inc on the track “Cosmic Dance” which is co-written by Julian Jonah and Jazzy M, and released on another of Jazzy M’s record labels, Delphinus Delphis. In 1992, Ali begins studying for a PhD in computational philosophy which he completes in 1999.

Fast forward to 1995, and Tony Thorpe approaches Ali with the idea of contributing a NAD track for “Miscellaneous the Second”, a compilation album on his label Language records. Working with Ken Downie, founding member of techno outfit, The Black Dog, Ali produces “Infinitesimal” which is released in 1996. The inspiration for the track is the closing speech from the classic 1950s science fiction film, The Incredible Shrinking Man. Two years later, NAD composes another track for Thorpe, “Silence Descends”, which appears on “The Family Album” compilation (Language Records, 1998). Ali begins to gather tracks for a second NAD album, “Like a Phoenix, Rising from a Flame”; however, he soon abandons the project, having become thoroughly disenchanted with the music industry and immerses himself deeper in the study of Islam, politics, and philosophy.

Fast forward 14 years to 2012, and Thorpe, who now co-runs Studio Rockers, contacts Ali with a view to putting together a catalogue of his previous work. The two meet and Ali plays Thorpe some of the material he has been recording at home during the past few years. NAD is reborn and the first new track, “A Sense of Finitude”, is recorded for a forthcoming Studio Rockers compilation album. (In the meantime, “Pure Imagination (NAD Wonky Refix)” hits YouTube with an accompanying video produced by modal.) Work begins on a 5-track EP featuring the sequel to “Distant Drums” planned for release early in 2013, with an album to follow later in the year.

Like a phoenix, rising from a flame.